The province has moved forward with two new funding projects in the wake of widespread flooding that forced more than two dozen Cowichan Valley residents to evacuate their homes as key transportation corridors were cut off by rising flood water.
The provincial government announced it is providing $750,000 for the construction of a new flood gate on Duncan’s Canada Avenue, while Cowichan Tribes will receive $750,000 for erosion-protection projects in the Cowichan River.
The new flood gate, which is part of a new approximately $1.9-million flood mitigation plan that is also being funded by the Municipality of North Cowichan and the City of Duncan, is intended to better protect the south end of North Cowichan and the City of Duncan from the impact of flooding.
“People in our community have been greatly disrupted by the impact of flooding in recent years,” said Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan.
“This project will help mitigate the impacts of localized flooding so that people can rest assured their properties and livelihoods are better protected.”
Funding for the initiative, called the Canada Avenue Flood Gate, Road and Drainage Upgrade Project, is being provided through the province’s Community Emergency Preparedness Fund.
In November, North Cowichan’s council gave its staff the green light to move forward with a proposal for the $1.9-million project that would include the construction of a new flood gate system across Canada Avenue and raising sections of the roadway near the RCMP detachment, which should avoid the nearly annual problems with localized flooding on the roadway.
The money is part of more than $12 million in provincial emergency preparedness funding earmarked to support structural flood mitigation projects in 18 communities in B.C. through the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund.
The intent is to support eligible applicants to prevent, eliminate or reduce hazards through structural flood-mitigation projects.
“In order to reduce the risk to British Columbians from hazards like flooding, we’re investing in mitigation projects,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
“We know that to improve public safety and create resilience among people and families, it’s critical to plan ahead with the aim of preventing disasters where possible and lessening the impact they have on our communities.”
Relentless rain along B.C.’s south coast closed roads, swelled rivers, including Cowichan River, and prompted a state of local emergency in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island at the end of January.